Flag of South Africa

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History and meaning of the flag

This became the first flag of a united South Africa on 27 April 1994, at the same time that South Africa held its first democratic elections and Nelson Mandela became president.

Flag of South Africa.svg

Red, white and blue are common in historical flags of South Africa, including colonial flags of Britain and Holland, while green, black and gold were often colours of the African people. The colour combinations of the new flag can be interpreted differently by different people.

The main design of the flag, the green 'Y' starting at the flag post and coming together in the centre of the flag, can be seen as the coming together of the different people of South Africa, who then take the road ahead together.

This idea of unification links up with the motto of the National Coat of Arms:

!ke e:/xarra //ke

written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, which means 'diverse people unite'

Flying the National Flag

When the National Flag is displayed vertically against a wall, the red band should be to the left of the spectator with the hoist or the cord seam uppermost; when it is displayed horizontally, the hoist should be to the left of the spectator and the red band uppermost.

When the National Flag is displayed next to or behind the speaker in a hall or other meeting place, for example with them on a stage, it must be placed to the speaker's right hand. When it is placed elsewhere in the hall or meeting place it should be to the right of the audience.

When the National Flag is displayed together with:

  • any other flags, it must be hoisted first and lowered last;
  • the national flags of other countries, all the flags should be of approximately equal size and must be flown at an equal height, and the National Flag of the Republic of South Africa must be on the right side of the building or platform (that is to say, on the left side from the observer's point of view);
  • any other flags, not being other national flags, on separate flag staffs, the National Flag must be in the middle or on the left side from the observer's point of view or at the highest point of the group;
  • any other flags on the same flag staff, it must be at the top;
  • any other flag on crossed staffs, the National Flag must be to the spectators' left and its staff must be in front of the staff of the other flag;
  • another flag or flags in procession, the National Flag must be on the marching right. If there is a row of flags, the provisions of the third point above apply.